Becoming a Human Resources consultant requires expertise in the field so that you are able to offer either specialist or generalist services to your clientele.

If you are studying for a degree in Human Resources, or you want to pursue a new career path where you will consult businesses instead of being employed by one, it is important to recognize the traits that you need to have and what you must do to jump start your HR-consulting career.

It can be a scary proposition to go in business for yourself and to pursue a profession where you ultimately are in control of your own destiny. Here is your blueprint to entering this profession so that you can make an informed decision as to whether or not you are equipped to be a consultant.

Be Sure That You Know the Pros and Cons of Consulting

There are both pros and cons to consultancy. Some of the major advantages of working as a consultant is that you will enjoy independence and freedom that you simply cannot enjoy when you are an employee and not a business owner. You will interview clients, choose which clients you want to work with, set your own pricing for services and even control your own schedule.

While this sounds appealing, these benefits come with their own set of drawbacks. You will lose the guaranteed paycheck you may be comfortable with, you will not receive employer-sponsored benefits, and you will manage everything from your IT to your accounting. You will no longer just be an HR expert, you will become a well-rounded business professional who handles everything on the front-end and the back-end.

Get a Formal Education in the Field

Consultants are professionals within a field that people or businesses will go to to get professional advice. You cannot give professional advice to help with personnel issues, payroll processing strategies, benefits coordination, recruitment, hiring processes or legal compliance issues if you do not have formal training in HR. The first step for anyone who wants to become a consultant in HR is to get a degree in Human Resources Management. You can start by earning a Bachelor’s degree in Business, Management, Communications or Organizational Behavior.

Once you complete your undergraduate studies, the next step will be to enroll in a graduate program where you will cover more advanced coursework. The courses that you will complete if you are earning a Master’s in Human Resources Degree¬†include labor laws, market analysis, compensation, benefits, employee relations, workplace culture and more.

Getting Industry Experience to Decide Your Consultancy Path

You cannot expect to start consulting fresh out of school. You should seek out opportunity to work as a specialist with a sizable organization so that you can get practical experience. By doing this, you will learn how to handle real-world issues. You can also decide what types of services that you want to offer when you do enter the world of consultancy. You can either strive to be a generalist, where you will handle general projects, or you can strive to be a specialist who deals in one area but brings an in-depth expertise.

The role of an HR consultant varies from firm to firm and professional to professional. If you think this is a good fit for you, start to compare salaries and levels of education between different consultants before becoming a Human Resources consultant yourself.